Robarts Lecture:


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The Digitalization of Knowledge:
Tribal Ignorance and the African Diaspora

Paul E. Lovejoy FRSC
Distinguished Research Professor
Canada Research Chair in African Diaspora History

Illustrations #72-75: Ouidah - the Point of No Return

The embarkation of slaves at Ouidah (Whydah), the notorious port in the Bight of Benin, was in fact an embarkation point at the beach near the lagoon town of Ouidah. This seems hardly the ideal place for what was the major port in West Africa for the slave trade, with probably one million people leaving from this beach, which is encapsulated in three images (No. 72-75). The people forced to leave Africa from this point, crossing the dangerous surf, were identified in the Americas as "Mina" and included Gbe-speaking groups, including Fon, Ewe, Allada, and Ewe, but also Yoruba and people from the interior countries of Borgu and the central Sudan. The beach is haunted, the antithesis of touristic hedonism, befitting only a memorial to commemorate the "slave route."

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2002 Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies